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Regardless of whether you’re a new and aspiring writer or an established freelancer, getting your work published in photography magazines can be a tough, uphill struggle. The process can also appear to be confusing and lack proper transparency, but with hard work and determination you can still have your work published in the top magazines and photography websites.
To make things even more difficult, it’s not just the quality of your writing that will determine your success; because you’ll need to understand the industry to make waves and get your work published in the first place.
When you do get your work published though it’s hugely exhilarating and can also be financially rewarding, particularly once you’ve made a name for yourself as a reliable, consistent and popular author with magazine audiences.
Many Articles In Magazines Are Written By Freelancers.
In times gone by, most magazines had a fixed permanent staff of writers who specialized in certain aspects of the publication’s niche but in recent years there are more freelancers publishing articles than ever.
So, if you’re trying to get your work published in photography magazines don’t be put off by the thought that they won’t be interested. Hiring freelance writers, either on an article by article basis or for longer term contracts, is a good way for magazines to keep their content fresh while building up a portfolio of diverse photography writers and content creators to use in the future.
How Do You Contact Magazines And Get Your Work Published?
When you decide to start writing, and getting your work published in magazines, then you’re going to have to contact the right people in the right places to get your work into their magazine’s pages!
Most magazines now have an online presence, even if they are primarily a print edition; although increasingly, many magazines exist exclusively online. Either way, it’s usually best to make the first contact with the magazine by email.
Always Research In Advance So You Can Contact The Correct Editor!
The first thing you need to do is to find the correct editor at the magazine to contact. Larger magazines, but even smaller ones, have several editors who cover different aspects of the magazine’s content.
To find the right editor you’ll have to do some research on their website because if you send your pitch to the wrong person it’s more than likely to end up straight in the trash! You can find details about the different editors in the ‘Contacts’ page of the website or else you can go to the ‘About’ or ‘Who We Are’ page where you’ll find a list of the magazine’s permanent staff.
If you’re unsure, even after thoroughly checking through the website, then you can do a Google search to try to find out more. If this still hasn’t yielded any results you can also write to one of the editors of the magazine and politely ask if they could tell you the right person to send your pitch to.
Pitching Your Article.
After you’ve found the right editor or staff member at the magazine to contact you’ll need to put together an interesting pitch. When you put together a pitch you want to keep it short, snappy and make sure it has an irresistible hook!
When writing a pitch always try to get right to the point because the editor will want to know in the first paragraph roughly what you are proposing; and don’t forget they may be receiving hundreds of pitches a week so you should get straight to pertinent details.
This means you should include a catchy hook in the first line of the pitch, or, at the very latest, within the body of the first paragraph. A hook is something which is guaranteed to grab the editor’s attention and peak their interest in your proposal.
The hook should briefly describe what your article is about and why it is valuable for the magazine and their readers. You also need to include a suggested title for your piece and although this might be modified before publication, it should tell the reader roughly what they can expect to be reading about.
Make Contacting You Easy!
When you send a pitch to an editor you always need to make sure that it’s easy for them to get in touch with you if they are interested in pursuing your proposal.
So, you should include an email address, social media profile links, a link to your website, if you have one, and your phone number. This way the editor can contact you in the way that is most convenient for them.
Include Links To Sample Pieces In Your Pitch.
As well as pitching the article itself you should also include a few links at the bottom of the proposal to some sample pieces of your work. List the links under a clear heading in the pitch, such as ‘Writing Samples’, and include at least 2 or 3 examples of your work. Obviously, you should include links to the work that you are both proud of and is relevant to the type of magazine you are submitting your proposal to.
Don’t Use Large Attachments In Your Message.
When you are submitting your proposal you should certainly include links to your other work where possible but just make sure that the files aren’t too big and can quickly be accessed by the editor.
Once you’ve sent your pitch to an editor you’ll have to be patient while waiting for a reply – so don’t hassle them with multiple emails asking for an answer! Certainly though, if you haven’t heard back from them within a few weeks you can then send a polite follow up just asking if they have received your proposal, since if they are busy they may have accidentally missed it in their Inbox.
Will You Be Paid For Your Article?
When you are working as a freelance writer you should certainly expect to be paid for your content however, in the early days when you are just starting out you might have to be prepared to accept fairly low rates of payment.
This is only natural, as you break into the industry, because the magazine will want to see that you can engage their readers and provide high quality content on a regular and consistent basis to make it worth paying you a higher rate!
If you’ve never had your work published before then it might be necessary to write a few guest posts in other photography publications before you can start to ask for payment. This is so you can establish yourself and build up a bit of authority in the genre, after which a magazine, or other publication, will be happy to pay you for your work!
Signing A Contract – Is It Necessary?
When it comes to signing contracts in the world of freelance writers it’s actually quite common for editors to publish work in their magazines without signing an official contract! This may sound surprising to many people but in most cases there are no problems and as a writer you can usually rely on the honesty of editors to pay you what they agreed on the publication of your work.
However, in situations where you are setting up a longer term agreement with a magazine then you may need, or want, to sign a contract. When you do sign a contract, make sure that you understand what you are signing and are clear about who owns the work, what the publication details are and how much you’ll be paid for your work.
Each magazine or publisher has their own rules and although it can be quite frustrating that there is not an industry wide standard this is something that you will have to accept in the often eccentric business of magazine publications!
Bonus Tip – Choosing A Subject And Title For Your Article.
When it comes to selecting a topic and then a title, for your article submissions to photography magazines the first thing you should be doing is plenty of research into the publication.
For example, make sure you clearly understand the types of topics and subjects that the magazine publishes articles about. This includes the genre, or genres, that they work in, the type of audience they are appealing to and what the types of value that they offer their readers include.
So, obviously, if you’re submitting an article to a wildlife photography magazine then there’s very little point in pitching an article about architectural photography; however, you can produce articles about specific photographic tips, tricks and techniques which are suitable for a wide range of publications in different genres.
When it comes to choosing a title for your article then you want to make it eye-catching while making readers curious about what they can learn from your piece!
Selecting a title also requires that you understand the types of interests, concerns, problems and needs of the magazine’s audience so that you can answer questions that they might have in your work. For instance, if you were pitching an article for a fashion photography magazine then an article about how to pose a model in a photoshoot might be a real winner!
Once you’ve made up your mind about a topic and a title try to experiment with different combinations of words in your title until you settle on something which really stands out and will instantly engage potential readers. Sometimes, the magazine editor may suggest alterations to your title so you should be willing to receive positive criticism and advice.
Getting Your Article Published In A Photography Magazine – The Start Of A New Chapter In Your Life!
When you first get your work published in a magazine you’ll be feeling over the moon; however, it will take determination, hard work and a passion for writing to achieve the results you are hoping for.
Choosing topics that you are an authoritative figure in and answering the questions, concerns and needs of the magazine’s audience will help you to get your foot in the door with the editors; so plan your pitches carefully before you send off an email.
As you continue to work on your writing your style will improve and you’ll quickly learn the requirements of the industry. This means that with a can do attitude your career as a photography writer will thrive!
So, what are you waiting for? You can start researching potential topics and start working on some draft articles today; after which you can begin the process of pitching your creations to the editors of magazines in your chosen genre.